Single Review: James Morrison – ‘I Won’t Let You Go’

“All your typical James Morrison flavourings if not out to please everybody, then at least it’s well-provided-for demographic”

3 STARS

Digital Release: September 18, 2011

Physical Release: N/A

If you wanted to sound like a soppy wet tissue of a song-writer void of testosterone, attitude, and anything remotely interesting to say, you can do a lot worse than James Morrison, that’s for sure. At least, in spite of his more trivial qualities, his voice doesn’t grate in the same way James Blunt’s does, and at least it carries some distinguishing qualities unlike say, Joshua Radin, and probably most importantly, there’s no deliberately corny gimmick squeezed in alongside the overused and ultimately inconsequential mutterings of someone trying to come across as a loveable goofball, like Jason Mraz. In some ways, he’s far more mature and credible than his genre-sharing peers, sounding like a well-aged champagne amongst a shelf of Lambrini.

But to say that what he does offer is much other than the miserable smotherings of a dedicated/bereaved/confused lover would be lying. And make no mistakes – ‘I Won’t Let You Go’ is a very safe re-emergence into the chart landscape, and one that looked set to fail from the very moment it appeared online; the midweek chart says otherwise thanks to a certain fat celebrity with a penchant for ruining most good things though, so Morrison already has enormous ground on the recent comebacks of other, similar-sounding, acoustic guitar-wielding male acts. 

Unfortunately from the music side though, it often seems like the only thing holding much of the song’s quickly fraying seams together is his beautifully husky voice. However, when his dulcet tones turn into a strained whine that challenges itself a little too much, most of the already-colourless acoustic arrangement gets bleached even further. 

For the most-part, ‘I Won’t Let You Go’ gets by purely because it’s a down-tempo acoustic ballad that doesn’t make you want to hurt the man responsible. Whilst lacking much melodic drive and any kind of musical flair in a wider context, in the smaller context the song is a modest affair with all your typical James Morrison flavourings if not out to please everybody, then at least it’s well-provided-for demographic.

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